Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Riva Ganguly Das has said India stands by Bangladesh as a committed friend and partner noting that they can see the “very indomitable spirit” in Bangladesh today where the country’s biggest strength is its people.
“Today, when Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is striving forward to make Bangabandhu’s dream of Sonar Bangla a reality, India stands by Bangladesh as a committed friend and partner,” she said.
The High Commissioner was addressing the 71st Republic Day reception at International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) on Sunday night.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen who attended the function as the chief guest, highlighted various aspects of Bangladesh-India relations.
High Commissioner Riva said as Bangladesh celebrates Mujib Year, India also stakes a claim to Bangabandhu saying he (Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) belongs to them, too. “We’re privileged to be Bangladesh’s neighbour.”
She said the histories of the two countries are intertwined. “As Bangladesh gets ready to celebrate the Mujib Year from March 17, 2020 onwards, we reflect back on those years when Bangabandhu suffered immense hardship and sacrifice to give dignity and freedom to the people of Bangladesh.”
Riva Ganguly said India stood firmly, albeit sometimes alone, by Bangladesh as thousands of people from Bangladesh escaped unimaginable horror and misery and poured into India and the people of India on their part opened their homes and hearts to them.
To mark the special relationship with Bangladesh, she said, the government of India honoured two of distinguished friends with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
Former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Syed Muazzem Ali will be awarded the Padma Bhushan and Prof Dr Enamul Haque will be honoured with the Padma Shri for his outstanding contribution to archaeology. “We are honoured to honour our illustrious friends,” said the High Commissioner.
She said India and Bangladesh share historical legacy of fighting and winning the 1971 Liberation War together. “This is a unique example in modern history where people of two nations have fought a war as an integrated force and defeated a common enemy.”
Riva Ganguly said promotion of people-to-people contacts and human resource development are key components of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India.
“I’m immensely proud to inform that we had issued over 16 lakh visas to Bangladesh nationals in 2019 for visiting India. We’re committed to further promote the ease of travel for our Bangladeshi friends,” she said the High Commissioner.
The Indian envoy said their ability to resolve various long outstanding issues, including land boundary agreement and maritime boundary, indicate that the two countries have travelled a long way. “This also sets a unique example to the world on good neighborly relations.”
She said the recent purchase of two large shipping vessels from Bangladesh by an Indian firm is another milestone in bilateral trade relations between the two countries.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, ministers, senior political leaders, diplomats stationed in Dhaka, business leaders, artistes and editors were, among others, present.